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Growing Together, Issue # 83
December 27, 2013

Octopus Garden Creates Great Color

Welcome to the December Growing Together newsletter from landscape solutions for you. First and foremost, I hope each of you have had a wonderful holiday, however you may celebrate. Also, welcome to our new members as well as each of you returning this month. As we approach the end of another year, I would like to share some insights on a particular type of landscape area, and octopus garden. Now you may be asking yourself, "what on earth is an octopus garden?" For those of you that are older, like myself, one of the first things that may come to mind is the Beatles song that talks about and octopus garden. This is a fun garden that has several options. I don't have a complete picture for you to see, so I will try my best to describe the different options that you have.

I like to think of this as a simple style garden. An octopus has eight legs, and the body is in the center of those legs. The legs extend out from the body. This is where you can use the imagination to create color and your own unique style. Think about creating a theme base octopus garden. You could have a perennial flower octopus garden. A combination of evergreen solid color and flowering shrubs. A vegetable or herb octopus garden.

Let's work with one option for this design. A combination of evergreen and deciduous shrubs, along with perennial flowers. Always remember to plan out the garden ahead of time. This specific garden will need some space, but you do have the option of making a small octopus garden. You can even consider a container garden with this design.

forsythia shrub

Your first option is to think about the body. A mass of plants in the body in a shape similar to an octopus body. You can use the Forsythia shrub in mass, or a combination of Forsythia shrubs and a few evergreen shrubs, such as Mop Cypress, along with a Globe or other variety of an Arborvitae. Once you have planned out the body, think about the eight different legs extending from the body. You can make the legs curved or straight. I like the idea of creating each leg with combinations of evergreen and deciduous shrubs. I personally like the idea of not having dead space wherever you live. The evergreen shrubs will take care of dead space. Make sure each leg balances with the rest. You could do one leg with perennials and evergreens.

If you live in a geographic location that has plants that grow year around, plan for color during every month of the year. This is possible here in the southeastern US. We have Camellias blooming now, and in the next few months, Pieris Japonia will bloom. Pansies color beds during the cooler months also.

Your goal with this option garden is to give color, texture, and balance in each leg, which blends with the body. In between the legs, consider grass, (which will have to be maintained) or mulch, pine straw, or decorative stones.

This is a great garden to enjoy for years to come. Consider adding a bench in the middle of the body. You also can add other outdoor features in between the legs. Go simple or make the garden more complex. The octopus garden is a great solution to a dead area in your front or back yard. If you are thinking of trying this style garden with containers, make the octopus any size you want, as well as using small, medium, or large pots. A garden I think many of you can be proud of.

Tip For The Month

One of the problems that people have with indoor plants is the lack of humidity in the living spaces. This is especially true if you live in a cooler or cold climate where heat has to be used. One solution is to think about running a humidifier for your indoor plants. Great solution for sub-tropical and tropical plants. I have plants that live outside a good part of the year. Some are tropical and sub-tropical. The humidifier during the cooler months, help the plants stay moist. The opposite is if you live in a humid climate. A dehumidifier is great for your indoor plants. Easy tip, and good solution for those inside plants.

Thought For The Month

Tom and I find it so hard to believe another year is coming to a close. It seems like 2013 just started. Like all of you, I am sure you have had some good times, hardships, and sadness. I have shared some of our happenings to all of you through these newsletters. I have enjoyed another year each month with you. I look forward to 2014 in continuing to bring you more insights. There will be some changes next year with landscape solutions for you. You will be the first to know, but my love of sharing plants and gardens won't stop due to these changes.

I would like to wish each of you a safe and happy new year, and more importantly, wishing each of you health, happiness, and enjoyment of nature that surrounds you. Look forward to getting together at the end of January, 2014.

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